Mayor Tom, Caraway and DPD Chief Brown Want Dallas to Ban the Sale of Fake Dope

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Late this evening I was poking around the City Secretary's site to sneak-peek the council's doings upon its return to work Monday. At which point I noticed that when the Public Safety Committee reconvenes at noon, City Attorney Tom Perkins and Dallas Police Deputy Chief Patricia Paulhill will brief the council on "Synthetic Cannabinoids and Salvia Divinorum" -- in other words, K2 and the other marijuana substitutes legally sold, for now, at your finer smoke shops.

After making a few calls, I discovered: Chris Heinbaugh sent out a press release earlier this afternoon -- which we never received -- in which Mayor Tom Leppert, Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway and DPD Chief David Brown are, not unexpectedly, calling for a ban on dope substitutes. Their call comes just one day after Plano banned the sale of both beginning first thing Monday morning; State Senator Florence Shapiro (the bossman's sister, full disclosure) has also said she'll push for a statewide ban in coming months.

Caraway, Leppert and Brown's comments all follow. But here are two choice quotes if you find you don't have the energy to jump:
"More and more kids are using these products because they create the same effects as illegal drugs, but currently are legal and easy to get," said Mayor Leppert. "The fake marijuana and salvia are just as dangerous as the real thing and we need to move now to stop them from being sold and used."

"You can find these items in slick packaging right on the shelves in gas stations and head shops or on the Internet," said Mr. Caraway. "This loophole is a trap for kids. It just opens the door for illegal drug use later."
CITY LEADERS CALL FOR BAN ON SYNTHETIC MARIJUANA

Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert is proposing that the City Council ban synthetic marijuana and salvia divinorum, two drug-like products being used by teenagers and young adults.

"More and more kids are using these products because they create the same effects as illegal drugs, but currently are legal and easy to get," said Mayor Leppert. "The fake marijuana and salvia are just as dangerous as the real thing and we need to move now to stop them from being sold and used."

Synthetic cannabinoids are herbal plant products sprayed with a synthetic compound similar to THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. They are usually sold as incense or potpourri in smoke shops under names like" K2," "Spice" and "Yucatan Fire".

Salvia divinorum, also known as Diviner's Sage is a psychoactive plant that is native to Mexico. When smoked, chewed or brewed in a tea, it can produce a high or a hallucinatory effect for the user. It is sometimes sold as "Sally D" or "Magic Mint."

These products are currently being sold at gas stations, head shops and other locations in Dallas as well as on the internet.

Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway, who heads the Council's Public Safety Committee has also been working to get the products banned.

"You can find these items in slick packaging right on the shelves in gas stations and head shops or on the Internet," said Mr. Caraway. "This loophole is a trap for kids. It just opens the door for illegal drug use later."

National law enforcement officials say the use of these drugs is on the rise. When smoked, they produce an effect similar to that of marijuana lasting from 30 minutes to 2 hours.

"Even though these products are not the same as illegal drugs, they are just as dangerous," said Dallas Police Chief David Brown.

Currently, these products are not illegal under federal law and not approved by the FDA. Several states have moved to ban the products, but not Texas.

"We clearly hope the Legislature will ban these products statewide next year," said Mayor Leppert. "In the meantime, we can't afford to wait. We can act in the interim and at least get them off the store shelves in Dallas."

Mayor Leppert's proposal would ban the possession, use, sale or transfer of these products in Dallas, as well as paraphernalia used to smoke them. If passed, the ordinance would be a Class C misdemeanor with a $2,000 fine.

The proposed ordinance will be briefed to the Council's Public Safety Committee on Monday, August 2 at noon in the Council Briefing Room, 6ES.

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